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      Cooler weather coaxes pests inside homes

      Mike Bernskoetter sprays a home to prevent pests from coming in.
      When the weather takes a cold turn, we usually head inside our homes to warm up. Unfortunately, so do many outdoor creatures and critters when the temperatures take a plunge. Mike Bernskoetter, the owner of Art's Pest Control in Jefferson City, said he stays busy this time of year trying to prevent pests such as crickets, spiders, roaches, ants, and mice from invading people's homes. They can come in through any unsealed area of a home. "They'll start out around your doors, garage doors, walk-out doors, windows, that type of thing. Typically where there's some type of seam in your house," said Bernskoetter. Adam Mietzner said the outdoor spray treatment Bernskoetter uses keeps fall and winter bugs from getting inside. "Our general problem has been outside, so once the weather gets cold we haven't really had a problem at all, just in the spring time when the ants come out really, and when the wasps are around...we're allergic to wasps so we call him and he comes right out and takes care of it," said Mietzner. There are several things you can do at home and in your yard to minimize pests. "Make sure your house is sealed up. Don't let the leaves stack up around your house. Don't put a wood pile right next to your house. If you do bring in wood, make sure you kind of check it over when you bring it in," said Bernskoetter. He also recommends trimming bushes and trees that touch the home and foundation. Keeping wood piles a good distance away from your home wards off mice and other rodents. While most pests are harmless, Bernskoetter said people should watch out for brown recluse spiders, since they are common in Missouri and have a venomous bite.